When I’m writing a novel — or even a non-fiction story, I have to be passionate about the subject or I don’t have enough wherewithal to finish the book. Writing a novel is a commitment. At least 80,000 words living with characters and a setting that must, on some level, become real to you as an author.
Example: Sometimes, my characters talk to me when I’m going to sleep and I have to write down their words on a notepad so I don’t forget where they want me to go the next day. (Can you tell I’m a seat-of-the-pantser and not a plotter?)
Sometimes, I’ll start a novel with one issue driving me and my characters will make a sharp right and I’ll have to follow them to a different place. To an underlying passion that I didn’t know was there brewing beneath the surface.
Right now, I have three novels in my head — but I’m only focusing on one at the moment. It’s about five sisters with one father and three mothers. (Tentatively called Room at the Top.) The other two are a light Chick Lit set in Little Italy and a women’s fiction about two sisters, one with mental illness. For now, we’re going with the Heiresses of Wentworth Manor, a modern-day women’s fiction about family drama in Pacific Heights, San Francisco.
My passion for this story comes from watching millennials grapple with the sins of their parents and trying to make things right in their own relationships. But as I started writing the story, I began to have mercy on the dad who’d made all the mistakes. Then the storyline got more convoluted. After all, most people aren’t true villains — unless you’re watching the ID Network, then there is definitely a true villain. Most people are just doing the best they can with the life they’ve been handed.
I’m nearly done with the novel now. It’s not the story I set out to tell, but it definitely is something I had enough passion for to get through to the end. I’d love to be the kind of author who could plan and plot out an entire book. Unfortunately for me, there’s no passion in that route and the story lays flat.
That’s how it works for me. Are you interested in what inspires your favorite authors? I always loved hearing about what gave Tolstoy or Thomas Hardy their passion on a subject.
Since I have had the pleasure of reading your books, Kris, I can’t wait to see these three in print…and many more to come!
This was really interesting to know. Thank you for sharing this.